Men, You Don’t Understand How Hot Your Forearms Are

Why guys should always roll up their sleeves

Some years back, my best friend and I went through a brief but intense obsession with Supernatural, the soapy, long-running CW show in which two kind of dumb but extremely hot brothers (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki) team up to battle (and occasionally sex up) demons, ghosts and any number of other mythical baddies. The series is filmed in Vancouver, B.C., which means that wherever a given episode happens to be set, the hot hottie protagonists are pretty much always bundled in layer upon layer of denim and flannel.

As a result, much of the fun of watching the show lay in waiting for an errant flash of skin. If my bff and I did get so lucky, our prize was rarely a rippling set of abs or even a bulging bicep—typically it was nothing but an attractive forearm, modestly revealed by a rolled-up plaid sleeve.

In one blessed episode, the brothers get themselves sent to prison in order to root out a murderous cell-block spirit, and the orange jumpsuits they wear as inmates have short sleeves, revealing several inches of above-the-elbow flesh. But more often than not, it’s forearms only, flannel sleeves pushed up to show the brothers meant business. Who can say how many times one of us texted the other a screenshot accompanied only by the words, “FORE.ARMS.”?

We’re far from alone in our fervent enthusiasm for a part of the male anatomy generally deemed innocuous. Consider, for example, the highly popular subreddit r/forearmporn/, which is not in fact porn but just a bunch of guys posting photos of their forearms for the benefit of women and others who happen to enjoy pleasing, SFW masculine visuals.

So I was surprised yesterday when The New York Times asked, “Should a Man Roll Up His Sleeves?” Of course a man should roll up his sleeves, I thought. Every man should roll up his sleeves. (Except, of course, Paul Ryan, the Times’ nominal news peg, whose arms are so unappealing they should be considered a pre-existing condition.)

But I’m a journalist, and journalists don’t just take our own opinions for granted. We investigate. So I conducted an extremely representative and scientific survey of my immediate social circle to figure out what, exactly, makes that flash of forearm so dang distracting.

It’s casual. Unlike the tank-top-clad gym bro or the shirtless Tinder dude, the man who pushes up his sleeves isn’t trying to be sexy — or, at least, he doesn’t come off that way. He just happens to be airing out his wrist region. Oh, did you notice?

I don’t know why this is so much better than short sleeves (because Lorde knows I like upper arms too), but something about the exposed forearms feels like a treat or like a nice surprise,” my friend Mary* says. “I feel extremely Victorian saying that, like, ‘Ooo look at that exposed ankle,’ except it’s 2017 and I’m talking about men’s forearms.”

The casual element also means it’s easy to ogle the male brachioradialis in a circumspect way. “I stare at them when they hold the subway pole,” Anne admits. (Way to utilize that commute time wisely.)…



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